Business owners say new North Myrtle Beach ordinance puts small business in jeopardy

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 9:01 PM EDT
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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Derek and Claire Calhoun received their business license from North Myrtle Beach three years ago and opened Cherry Grove Beach Gear in North Myrtle Beach.

The small business rents out and sets up beach equipment from umbrellas to boogie boards to people looking to enjoy a carefree vacation.

The city of Myrtle Beach also rents out beach chairs and umbrellas and has certain protocols businesses, like Cherry Grove Beach Gear, have to follow.

“We stood firm to that, making sure we took all of our orders online or on the phone,” said owner Derek Calhoun. “Making sure we didn’t do any same-day rentals and we referred all those people who called for same-day rentals to the city.”

Last week, the City of North Myrtle passed a new ordinance and released a statement that keeps businesses from selling or placing any beach items such as chairs or umbrellas out on the beach.

The city said the outside operations erode funding sources for the City of North Myrtle Beach.

This ordinance makes it so the city is the only place that can provide these services. The ordinance can be read by clicking here.

This ordinance makes the service the Calhouns provide illegal.

“A lot of our customers have disabilities,” said Calhoun. “They want to come here on vacation and relax and maybe have a lot of trouble setting up that equipment. They have small children that want boogie boards. That want beach toys which we provide. The city says we can’t do that.”

Calhoun is a North Myrtle Beach resident who retired after 20 years in the military this year. He and his wife opened their business as a new way to provide for their family.

The city passed a new ordinance just days before the busy Fourth of July weekend and Cherry Grove Beach Gear already sold out of all its amenities.

They’ve been cited twice, for continuing their services.

“So we were a lawful business one day, the next we’re not and they have fined us. We’re up to $1000 in fines right now and all we want is to continue to be a lawful business.”

The City of Myrtle Beach will hold a special City Council meeting Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

On the docket: Amend Sec 5-24 Placing Obstructions on the Beach.

Calhoun plans to speak at the meeting. He will also have the support of Veteran groups and other local North Myrtle Beach businesses.

A family friend also set up a GoFundMe to help the small business pays for the citations they’ve received.

The Calhouns say any additional funds will be donated back to the community.

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